2 Feb 2017

New footage of animal mistreatment at rodeo

6:40 pm on 2 February 2017

New footage of alleged animal mistreatment at a rodeo has prompted another investigation by the government.

The new video shows young cattle being electric prodded and punched at the Warkworth Rodeo on New Year's Day.

The footage was given to Checkpoint by Anti-Rodeo Action's Lynn Charlton, and follows earlier footage obtained last month, which showed alleged breaches of the Rodeo Code of Welfare at the Maungatapere Mid Northern Rodeo near Whangarei.

The earlier footage was being investigated by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and the Ministry has confirmed that it was also looking at the New year's Day incident.

In a statement, MPI animal welfare compliance head Chris Rodwell said MPI was "looking into incidents at the January 1 Warkworth rodeo. Any evidence of non-compliance with the rodeo code of welfare will be dealt with accordingly".

The Rodeo Code of Welfare states: "Electric prodders must not be used on animals other than adult cattle," and only where "their use is essential to move difficult animals".

The NZ Rodeo Cowboys Association declined a request for an interview.

Mandy Carter, a spokesperson for Animal welfare organisation SAFE, said she was not surprised by the release of more footage appearing to show animal mistreatment.

"This again demonstrates that people who organise rodeos are prepared to do anything to goad the animals into doing what they want and it really shows they are cruel," said Ms Carter.

Labour Party animal welfare spokesperson Trevor Mallard said Labour would ban electric prods, flank straps, young animals being used and other aspects of rodeos it said were cruel.

"Some people say that if we did this, rodeos would collapse and my view is that if rodeos can't run without being cruel they should just be stopped," said Mr Mallard.

Ms Carter said SAFE would welcome those improvements, but she said ultimately a ban was needed.

"It is unacceptable. That's what the public have been saying in the last few weeks and companies have disassociated their involvement with rodeo. It is very clear this is the way it's going and it has to end completely," Ms Carter said.

MPI said its investigation into footage revealed by Checkpoint last week "was ongoing".

There were twelve rodeo events remaining this season.

A protest has been planned to take place at the Martinborough Rodeo tomorrow morning.

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